Electrical current is extremely dangerous. According to OSHA, electrocution accidents are the third leading cause of death to construction workers in the United States. Only falls and being struck by objects claim more lives than electrical accidents. Workers engaged with cranes, scaffolding, and metal ladders can often come into contact with high voltage overhead power lines and experience an electric shock sufficient enough to stop their hearts from beating, resulting in death or falls. The extent and degree of current flow, voltage, and duration of electrical shock to the body will most often determine the severity of the electrical injury. If you or someone you know has been injured in an electrocution accident, you should seek the counsel of an experienced Chicago electrocution injury lawyer to assist you with your claim.
Causes of Electrocution
Some of the most common causes of electrocutions include:
- Contact with high voltage power lines
- Lack of appropriate grounding protection
- Inadequate grounding of electrical equipment
- Noncompliance with manufacturers’ instructions
- Incorrect use of extension and flexible cords
Though most electrocution injuries occur at the workplace, coming in a close second and third are defective household products and improper wiring at home or in public places. Badly insulated or exposed wires, sockets and outlets without proper grounding can be particularly dangerous to young children who are more susceptible to injury by lower voltage.
Many ordinary consumer products such as hair dryers, refrigerators, power tools, kitchen appliances, and other miscellaneous household electronics have been recalled over the years for presenting dangerously high risks of serious electric shock and electrocution.
Electrocution Deaths and Injuries
Electrocution may often result in severe burns and death. When an electrocution victim survives, he/she may suffer debilitating conditions requiring surgery and skin grafting as well as visual impairment, blindness, brain & heart damage, nerve damage, even amputation.
Frequently, other injuries occur when the electrocution causes the victim to fall or be thrown outward from the electrical source; such as broken bones, damage to internal organs, spinal cord injuries and paralysis.
Survivors might also suffer:
- Brain injuries
- Nerve damage
- Heart problems
- Permanent organ damage
- Vision, hearing or speaking deficits
- Bodily disfigurement from burns
The severity of the injuries depends on several factors, such as:
- Length of electrical exposure
- Volume of current passing through the body
- The electrical current’s path
- The amount of moisture
- The degree of voltage of the current
- The general health of the individual
Electrocution Accident Injury Claims
Most workplace electrocution accidents are preventable as they tend to result from unsafe equipment or installation, unsafe work practices, lack of safety training, or a generally unsafe work environment. If employers do not properly employ these safety measures or train their employees on how to do so, they may be held legally liable for any resulting death or injury.
At Hurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C., we have over two decades of experience successfully representing victims of electrocution accidents in Chicago, Cook County, and throughout the United States. Our partner, Michael T. Mertz, was an apprentice electrician before attending law school and has in-depth knowledge of the construction trades and the complexities involving these types of injuries and cases. If you have been injured or someone close to you has been injured or killed in an electrical accident, contact an experienced Chicago electrocution injury attorney at HM&M today for a free no obligation consultation.